Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

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Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by CienaRee on Fri 12 Aug - 11:40

Hey,guys I  recently stumbled upon very  interesting articales where the authors talk whether violence being used as redemption in the movies is  the right thing to do  or if it's even an accurate view.They call this The Myth of Redepmtion Violence:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/opinion/sunday/star-wars-and-the-fantasy-of-american-violence.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0
http://eleven-thirtyeight.com/2016/07/star-wars-and-the-myth-of-redemptive-violence/

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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by Maria Antonietta on Fri 12 Aug - 11:57

CienaRee wrote:Hey,guys I  recently stumbled upon very  interesting articales where the authors talk whether violence being used as redemption in the movies is  the right thing to do  or if it's even an accurate view.They call this The Myth of Redepmtion Violence:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/opinion/sunday/star-wars-and-the-fantasy-of-american-violence.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0
http://eleven-thirtyeight.com/2016/07/star-wars-and-the-myth-of-redemptive-violence/
@CienaRee

Yeah, I agree with them. It's so easy to speak with people who really get sw themes, not with who gives no impact to Han's death.
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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by CienaRee on Fri 12 Aug - 12:12

Maria Antonietta wrote:
CienaRee wrote:Hey,guys I  recently stumbled upon very  interesting articales where the authors talk whether violence being used as redemption in the movies is  the right thing to do  or if it's even an accurate view.They call this The Myth of Redepmtion Violence:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/opinion/sunday/star-wars-and-the-fantasy-of-american-violence.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0
http://eleven-thirtyeight.com/2016/07/star-wars-and-the-myth-of-redemptive-violence/
@CienaRee

Yeah, I agree with them. It's so easy to speak with people who really get sw themes, not with who gives no impact to Han's death.
@Maria Antonietta

They do make some really good points.What's interesting is that the authors of one of the artciales is an American veteran from the second Iraq war so it's really interesting to hear  the opinion of someone who's experienced what it is to be in a war contrary to how it's presented in movies.I mean you SW has become such an iconic saga so to see someone who's actually fought in a war criticize it is very interesting because the war veterans tend to see things differently than civilans would.

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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by jakkusun on Sun 14 Aug - 10:04

I like this! I hope Rogue One also gets to explore these themes more. I'm glad the books seem to be doing it already. I've read Bloodline and most of Aftermath:Life Debt now, and I think they've done a pretty good job of at least occasionally acknowledging the costs of war and violence.

You know, it has been bothering me that Vader's redemption involved killing Palpatine. While satisfying (since we love to see the hated characters "get what they've got coming to them") and possibly the only good choice at the time, violence redeeming violence does not make a whole lot of sense to me. I feel like Vader's redemption was incomplete in this way. I think it's what Kylo Ren really needs to finish. It's also why I'm not so keen on the idea of Kylo Ren killing Snoke, necessarily...

And you know...some of Kylo's coolest powers actually involve stopping violence. He can freeze blaster bolts, freeze people, and knock them out with the force. I know it sounds silly, but I kinda think he would have great potential as a pacifist...one who could stop violence without resorting to violence himself. But I know a pacifist Kylo Ren sounds like a very ridiculous paradox or something. Lol
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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by CienaRee on Sun 14 Aug - 10:27

jakkusun wrote:I like this! I hope Rogue One also gets to explore these themes more. I'm glad the books seem to be doing it already. I've read Bloodline and most of Aftermath:Life Debt now, and I think they've done a pretty good job of at least occasionally acknowledging the costs of war and violence.

You know, it has been bothering me that Vader's redemption involved killing Palpatine. While satisfying (since we love to see the hated characters "get what they've got coming to them") and possibly the only good choice at the time, violence redeeming violence does not make a whole lot of sense to me. I feel like Vader's redemption was incomplete in this way. I think it's what Kylo Ren really needs to finish. It's also why I'm not so keen on the idea of Kylo Ren killing Snoke, necessarily...

And you know...some of Kylo's coolest powers actually involve stopping violence. He can freeze blaster bolts, freeze people, and knock them out with the force. I know it sounds silly, but I kinda think he would have great potential as a pacifist...one who could stop violence without resorting to violence himself. But I know a pacifist Kylo Ren sounds like a very ridiculous paradox or something. Lol
@jakkusun

I was thinking about the whole Vader having to kill Palpatine to redeem himself and how many people see that as Vader  ultimately redeeming himself and becoming Anakin again but I guess it's because Plapatine was portrayed as this percenafication of evil and he was about to kill Luke I guess?
But it's really interesting how some of the things we're meant to cheer on in the movies(Luke blowing up the Death Star,etc)are actually acknowledged and somewhat criticized in the novels so maybe the authors aren't that comfortable with violence being played as humor either?
I've mentioned it before but I was never really a hardcore fan of SW before TFA.I liked the series but things were presented in very  black and white terms(beside the Luke-Vader conflict) and while I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with movies like that I like movies that don't always offer easy solutions and the characters are more grey.It's probably why Kylo's my favorite character right now because they actually do take risks with him-he does awful things but you some who's feel sorry for the struggle in himself and how torn apart he is.I remebera quote from one of the SW writers that wrote the novel Tarkin who said that actors usually enjoy playing villains more  tha heroes because they're more complicated characters.
I don't think you're off track about Kylo becoming a pacifist can see that happening considering all the guilt he'll have to live with.It could be great seeing how killing people affect a person and redeeming himself doesn't mean he won't be hunted  by what he's done for the rest of his life.It's like with veterans from war you might tell yourself you killed people in service of your country but that doesn't make you any less traumatized and guilty.So Kylo could be used as an example of how war affects people because so many of our beloved characters kill people yet don't show any sign of remorse.

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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by Darth Rowan on Sun 14 Aug - 10:56

I haven't read the article yet, but your post resonated with me @jakkusun. I don't think that pacifist!Kylo sounds ridiculous at all, and I hope that eventually he will get there, but I think that will be a privilege he will have to earn. For now he lives by the sword and he won't be able to set it down so easily. I've thought a lot about this and I'll ramble on a bit because it's late here and I'm sleep deprived. The question is can Kylo Ren's redemption be complete if he kills Snoke - or anyone else, for that matter - even if for the right reasons? Isn't enlightenment/redemption finding ways to NOT harm, to not destroy? Isn't that the lesson of true heroism found in the OT? But at the end of the day evil must be stopped.

Love conquers all, but not always directly imo. Love could not have softened the heart of Sheev Palpatine by the end of the OT, and I doubt it can soften Snoke. If he himself can't or won't be redeemed, someone has to toss the Emperor over the railing, or he'll be up there Force frying people left and right to kingdom come. I think that part of Darth Vader's sacrifice was killing and destroying so that his son Luke wouldn't have to. (Unrelated, but just like Severus Snape with his godson, btw.)

It's important and good that there are those who are pure of heart walking among us, and in a story about war they can remain pure through their own grace - and the sacrifice of others. Someone has to get their hands dirty for this to be accomplished, imo. In the OT it was Vader for love of Luke, and in the ST I think it will most likely be Kylo Ren, for love of Rey. What I am hoping for is that the outcome won't be the same, i.e., redemption through death, and reading the signs I sincerely doubt it will be.

Still, "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny." And it's true. This violence of ending Snoke/Palpatine in a sense is the cleansing and purifying sacrifice that must be made by the one who started down the dark path for the sake of the one who turned away from it. Kylo Ren and his grandfather before him, be it by destiny or by design, went down the dark path. I guess what I'm saying is that I am also conflicted but it makes sense to me organically so in the end I am OK with this. XD

All that being said, the ST is not the OT, and Rey isn't Luke. Maybe Rey isn't destined to be a saint and a sacrificial lamb like Luke envisioned himself to be. Maybe she has other ideas, maybe she will want to get her hands dirty because she likes that part of herself and wants to explore it more. Idk, it's still early and with the elements present in TFA there's really many ways the story could go. I'm down for whatever, as long as it's well realized and true to Star Wars.

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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by jakkusun on Sun 14 Aug - 12:29

@Darth Rowan lol you got me rambling too. Good thoughts. I think you're right. It would be strange for Star Wars to go with an Avatar the Last Airbender style ending, as much as I love that kind of ending. (I don't know if anyone has ever heard of the Benedict Society book trilogy, but it also has that kind of theme/ending. I love it so much.) the whole "enlightenment is finding ways not to harm/destroy" thing is my favorite, haha. Though love didn't save those villains. The heros found a way to defeat them and stop the big bad from continuing with evil without having to kill the big bad. But the big bad was still very very bad. The heros didn't give up completely on them, either, even though it was essentially hopeless that they would ever have a change of heart. But this stuff is not gonna be in every story. It probably shouldn't be.

But yeah, I'm guessing Snoke dying, and by Kylo's hand, is rather likely...even/especially if it would be a bit of a repeat of the Vader and Palpatine thing...Is it a rhyme or a repeat?...I feel like I always just call something a rhyme or a repeat based on convenience lol.

(Though I suppose the theories about Leia, Rey, or Luke killing Snoke also have some potential. Then, there is also the classic and convenient "villain causes his own death" thing they could go with... I guess I just don't like celebrating any character's death, unless they have done such truly dispicable things that irk me in a personal way...no one in TFA has really made me loathe them...yet lol. But Gallius Rax for example, I want Rae Sloane to rip his guts out. XD but I'm not proud of that. But also, Rae Sloane is in the position to dirty her hands and deal Gallius Rax some satisfying violence, without tarnishing a hero character. But the idea of a hero doing it is very interesting (kind of like Coulson in AOS...interesting themes to explore there) but KyLo isn't a pure hero of course, so it would be more Vader-y. Rey doing it would be very weird and interesting. Luke doing it would be crazy, totally reversing his character in ROTJ. Leia doing it would be very Mrs. weasley haha....)

And the ideas about someone killing so others don't have to, sacrificing pure morals for love, and using death as a way of cleansing the darkness away as a sort of destiny...(I did a bad job of paraphrasing here sorry)....all these are actually really grey areas, which is exciting. The whole idea of sacrificing moral purity for the greater good.... I love grey stuff. I suppose I hope it will be portrayed as very grey, rather than black and white. Probably too much to hope for...or maybe not...who knows.

Like, if Kylo Ren mourned killing Snoke or something...idk. Something even more grey than the OT would be exciting for me. I suppose I'm weird thinking the death of evil doers should be mourned. Mourned as a life wasted, that is,(because a life dedicated to snuffing out life and vitality is certainly a waste of a life, isn't it? Is mourning that waste almost like mourning all those who have had their lives destroyed by the evil doer? Idk) rather than focusing on celebrating the eradication of the evil that that person brought to the Galaxy through their actions, I guess.

It all depends on the focus and the perspective on the value of life...I guess....what it means to forgive, what it means to protect freedom of choice, what justice really means, etc. is justice dealt by people or nature or conscience or fate or destiny or all of the above? If someone chooses not to "play their role" in someone else's fate, will that fate just be carried out by another means? What is the balance of mercy and justice? What is mercy? Do people have choice? Is justice death or is it living to learn to have guilt and know what to do with it? Is it ever too late? Is it better to kill someone or restrict their freedom of choice? Who has the right to decide? And who has the responsibility to carry out the verdicts? Is there always a cost for any life lost and who carries that burden? Is life inherently valuable or is it made valuable? Can it be made worthless? Can a life ever be completely evil? Do pure evil and goodness exist in some, all, or no situations? Should they?

Okay I'm sure the answer to all that is: "it depends." Lol we are also talking about a story, in which things are exaggerated and symbolic, etc.

Anyway, I realize it's not like Darth Vader necessarily didn't mourn having to kill Palpatine. So many emotions at once for him there...., and he was focused on Luke, as he should be. He was probably mourning all the evil he had done, all at once. Maybe. But he didn't seem to care much for Palps when he offered Luke the option to overthrow him and rule the Galaxy as father and son...so who knows? I guess just a lot of good themes or ideas were left relatively unexplored, which is okay and often the right choice artistically (it lets the audience think for themselves more) but I think it would be cool to explore it more this time around.

And I like that idea of Rey not being a saint and getting her hands dirty a lot (because it sort of balances her already very "good" character, just like Kylo choosing to be merciful would balance his current violence...balance and subversion is so interesting...even though, for Rey's sake alone, I wouldn't want her to get dirty...or maybe I would. Idk it is like in finding memo when His dad says he promised nothing would happen to nemo and Dory points out that then nothing would happen to him....should people wish trials upon those they care about, because it will help them grow? An easy path never really helped anyone? So...yeah idk at this point I'm arguing with myself) Anyway, I would be even more thrilled about Rey getting her hands dirty with some gritty violence if the greyness of such violence was emphasized. She's already shot up a lot of people, it just wasn't focused on in a grey way a whole lot yet...But of course there is only so much films have time for. It's always gotta stay true to Star Wars too. But it still needs to somehow build on what we've already got, too, I suppose, because why else make a sequel trilogy?
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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by guardienne on Sun 14 Aug - 12:41

Scranton wrote:What they’re really claiming is that veterans know something civilians don’t understand or can’t imagine, and that this failure of imagination is a failure of democracy, a failure of dialogue, a failure to listen. What they mean is that veterans have learned something special through their encounter with violence, and civilians need to hear that sacred knowledge. This is where talk about the “military-civilian gap” goes awry.

The truth is, most Americans understand what our soldiers do very well: They understand that American troops are sent overseas to defend American political and economic interests, wreak vengeance on those who have wronged us, and hunt down our enemies and kill them. There is no gap there. The American military has a job, and most of us, on some level, understand exactly what that job is. The American soldier or Marine is an agent of American state power.

i would contest that. (i'm not american) i would think that we know what happens in th abstract but we can't know the impact it has on the person. or we do know the impact it has and yet we do very little about it.

The real gap is between the fantasy of American heroism and the reality of what the American military does, between the myth of violence and the truth of war. The real gap is between our subconscious belief that righteous violence can redeem us, even ennoble us, and the chastening truth that violence debases and corrupts.

oh god. this so much.

i think in some way being european gives me a head start on how corrupting war is. i've spent most of my life being confronted by my country's violent past and it's .. chatening i guess. i can't go out and defend war at all really. how does padme put it, this war represents a failure to listen. ... yeah, i agree with that. and it may be chalked up as appeasement yet again. i feel that the refugees that have come to europe over the last few years, the people who flee from poverty and civil war, that is our doing and our legacy.

and we have a responsibility for creating this world also.

and anyway, i've considered myself to be a pacifist most of my life, so it's really been only these few months when i've explored the military as something that isn't driven by a pure state of violence and male ego, but something about protecting your home maybe? and values? the latter always seems such a slippery slope to me, what are values really other than abstract ideas? i have no idea.

either way i don't think the dark path dominates your destiny. i think we've kinda discussed this a lot already but it seems weird, an absolute assumption made by the jedi because it suits them?

i really don't trust the jedi and how they embody their own philosophy.

Jedi and the symbolism of the sword

anyway, what i think is important in this jumble of thoughts is that star wars is absolutely necessary and it'd be absolutely amazing to discuss some of the ideas about violence in the new films. i can't think of a better medium or a better way to do it. one of the ways it's crack to me is that it doesn't represent a clearcut morality already. what i think will be intersting is if only kylo gives up his sword and/or ends snoke, people could easily claim that he gives up the dark side altogether, if that makes any sense.

i think you could claim the same for vader. but i think all vader does is prioritise a person, his son, over his job.

it's tricky to me. anakin always was loyal to people and he continues to be. is kylo loyal to snoke? hahaha. so i don't know how this will play out. i would like for the writers to find a better solution than to end cruelty and violence with more of it.

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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by CienaRee on Sun 14 Aug - 13:52

jakkusun wrote:@Darth Rowan lol you got me rambling too. Good thoughts. I think you're right. It would be strange for Star Wars to go with an Avatar the Last Airbender style ending, as much as I love that kind of ending. (I don't know if anyone has ever heard of the Benedict Society book trilogy, but it also has that kind of theme/ending. I love it so much.) the whole "enlightenment is finding ways not to harm/destroy" thing is my favorite, haha. Though love didn't save those villains. The heros found a way to defeat them and stop the big bad from continuing with evil without having to kill the big bad. But the big bad was still very very bad. The heros didn't give up completely on them, either, even though it was essentially hopeless that they would ever have a change of heart. But this stuff is not gonna be in every story. It probably shouldn't be.

But yeah, I'm guessing Snoke dying, and by Kylo's hand, is rather likely...even/especially if it would be a bit of a repeat of the Vader and Palpatine thing...Is it a rhyme or a repeat?...I feel like I always just call something a rhyme or a repeat based on convenience lol.

(Though I suppose the theories about Leia, Rey, or Luke killing Snoke also have some potential. Then, there is also the classic and convenient "villain causes his own death" thing they could go with... I guess I just don't like celebrating any character's death, unless they have done such truly dispicable things that irk me in a personal way...no one in TFA has really made me loathe them...yet lol. But Gallius Rax for example, I want Rae Sloane to rip his guts out. XD but I'm not proud of that. But also, Rae Sloane is in the position to dirty her hands and deal Gallius Rax some satisfying violence, without tarnishing a hero character. But the idea of a hero doing it is very interesting (kind of like Coulson in AOS...interesting themes to explore there) but KyLo isn't a pure hero of course, so it would be more Vader-y. Rey doing it would be very weird and interesting. Luke doing it would be crazy, totally reversing his character in ROTJ. Leia doing it would be very Mrs. weasley haha....)

And the ideas about someone killing so others don't have to, sacrificing pure morals for love, and using death as a way of cleansing the darkness away as a sort of destiny...(I did a bad job of paraphrasing here sorry)....all these are actually really grey areas, which is exciting. The whole idea of sacrificing moral purity for the greater good.... I love grey stuff. I suppose I hope it will be portrayed as very grey, rather than black and white. Probably too much to hope for...or maybe not...who knows.

Like, if Kylo Ren mourned killing Snoke or something...idk. Something even more grey than the OT would be exciting for me. I suppose I'm weird thinking the death of evil doers should be mourned. Mourned as a life wasted, that is,(because a life dedicated to snuffing out life and vitality is certainly a waste of a life, isn't it? Is mourning that waste almost like mourning all those who have had their lives destroyed by the evil doer? Idk) rather than focusing on celebrating the eradication of the evil that that person brought to the Galaxy through their actions, I guess.

It all depends on the focus and the perspective on the value of life...I guess....what it means to forgive, what it means to protect freedom of choice, what justice really means, etc. is justice dealt by people or nature or conscience or fate or destiny or all of the above? If someone chooses not to "play their role" in someone else's fate, will that fate just be carried out by another means? What is the balance of mercy and justice? What is mercy? Do people have choice? Is justice death or is it living to learn to have guilt and know what to do with it? Is it ever too late? Is it better to kill someone or restrict their freedom of choice? Who has the right to decide? And who has the responsibility to carry out the verdicts? Is there always a cost for any life lost and who carries that burden? Is life inherently valuable or is it made valuable? Can it be made worthless? Can a life ever be completely evil? Do pure evil and goodness exist in some, all, or no situations? Should they?

Okay I'm sure the answer to all that is: "it depends." Lol we are also talking about a story, in which things are exaggerated and symbolic, etc.

Anyway, I realize it's not like Darth Vader necessarily didn't mourn having to kill Palpatine. So many emotions at once for him there...., and he was focused on Luke, as he should be. He was probably mourning all the evil he had done, all at once. Maybe. But he didn't seem to care much for Palps when he offered Luke the option to overthrow him and rule the Galaxy as father and son...so who knows? I guess just a lot of good themes or ideas were left relatively unexplored, which is okay and often the right choice artistically (it lets the audience think for themselves more) but I think it would be cool to explore it more this time around.

And I like that idea of Rey not being a saint and getting her hands dirty a lot (because it sort of balances her already very "good" character, just like Kylo choosing to be merciful would balance his current violence...balance and subversion is so interesting...even though, for Rey's sake alone, I wouldn't want her to get dirty...or maybe I would. Idk it is like in finding memo when His dad says he promised nothing would happen to nemo and Dory points out that then nothing would happen to him....should people wish trials upon those they care about, because it will help them grow? An easy path never really helped anyone? So...yeah idk at this point I'm arguing with myself) Anyway, I would be even more thrilled about Rey getting her hands dirty with some gritty violence if the greyness of such violence was emphasized. She's already shot up a lot of people, it just wasn't focused on in a grey way a whole lot yet...But of course there is only so much films have time for. It's always gotta stay true to Star Wars too. But it still needs to somehow build on what we've already got, too, I suppose, because why else make a sequel trilogy?
@jakkusun

Great post! bom
Personally I'm a pacifist but unfortunately I realize that sometimes that might not work as much I and probably other people who're pacifists want to believe it can.
I think there isn't an easy or right answer to all of these questions it really depends on our beliefs and POV.I think that's one of the reasons why Kylo evokes so much discussion and controversy.(btw a while ago me and my mom had an interesting conversation about the Holocaust and how the Nazi were capable of causing so much pain and destruction.I was thinking whether some of the Nazi soldiers were bar I washed by Hitler to believe what they were doing was right [despite some of the astrcoties himan kind has caused I want to believe people aren't born evil,iI don't know may even it's the idealist in me{but my mom said that the war made pope act like animals which I found an interesting and probably true)
As for Rey I agree with you.I know some people hate the idea of Dark!Rey and while her going all evil in a very one dimensional way isn't the answer to make her character more complex I think not having her battle her own demons would be worse because it wouldn't let her grow and develop.She would be like Palpatien for example remaining the same though the entire trilogy with the only difference is that she's the heroine while Palpatine's the villain.I think an interesting moment for her in the movie is when she's ready to shoot a Stormtrooper without him even attacking her first yet when he does attack her and she shots him she hesitates for a bit as if she's surprised and/or horrified at what she's done then she continues shooting this time being visibly angry.I think it's a ice metaphors for people who think they won't feel anything but killing their faceless enemy yet when they do they're forever changed by the fact and for some that might lead to the, becoming the monster they're trying to destroy which is exactly what happened with Anakin in the movies.

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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by Sacrebleu on Sun 14 Aug - 17:59

guardienne wrote:i think in some way being european gives me a head start on how corrupting war is. i've spent most of my life being confronted by my country's violent past and it's .. chatening i guess. i can't go out and defend war at all really. how does padme put it, this war represents a failure to listen. ... yeah, i agree with that. and it may be chalked up as appeasement yet again. i feel that the refugees that have come to europe over the last few years, the people who flee from poverty and civil war, that is our doing and our legacy.

and we have a responsibility for creating this world also.

and anyway, i've considered myself to be a pacifist most of my life, so it's really been only these few months when i've explored the military as something that isn't driven by a pure state of violence and male ego, but something about protecting your home maybe? and values? the latter always seems such a slippery slope to me, what are values really other than abstract ideas? i have no idea.

either way i don't think the dark path dominates your destiny. i think we've kinda discussed this a lot already but it seems weird, an absolute assumption made by the jedi because it suits them?

i really don't trust the jedi and how they embody their own philosophy.

Jedi and the symbolism of the sword

anyway, what i think is important in this jumble of thoughts is that star wars is absolutely necessary and it'd be absolutely amazing to discuss some of the ideas about violence in the new films. i can't think of a better medium or a better way to do it. one of the ways it's crack to me is that it doesn't represent a clearcut morality already. what i think will be intersting is if only kylo gives up his sword and/or ends snoke, people could easily claim that he gives up the dark side altogether, if that makes any sense.

i think you could claim the same for vader. but i think all vader does is prioritise a person, his son, over his job.

it's tricky to me. anakin always was loyal to people and he continues to be. is kylo loyal to snoke? hahaha. so i don't know how this will play out. i would like for the writers to find a better solution than to end cruelty and violence with more of it.

@guardienne

I look back at what I was taught about American history as a child in school and how gradually my perspective has expanded and changed as I've aged.  The nagging suspicions grow on you that it's not that simple and clearcut and never was.  This uneasy feeling is compounded by the fact that so many American wars have not been fought on American soil, I guess the exceptions being the Revolution, the Civil War, and the attack on Pearl Harbor (forgive me if I've left something out).  When you go someplace else to "defend" yourself you are standing on marshier ground.  William Pitt the Elder, the former British prime minister who was sympathetic to the colonial position in the American Revolution, said "If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms never never never!"  Yet now America keeps a military presence in so many places.  We are perhaps ignoring the lessons of our own history.

I did finally read a book about American soldiers' real-life experience in a book called Black Hawk Down that gave me a much clearer understanding of how violence debases and corrupts.  There is a quote from Plato at the start of the book, "Only the dead have seen an end to war."

As regards Star Wars I have always felt that there was a disconnect between Yoda's teachings and the reality of what the Jedi were doing and indeed were counted on to do.  When you are passive and at peace, how do you summon the will to commit violence?  How can you commit that violence in a state of passivity?  How can you fight effectively that way in a life and death struggle?  That part never rang true to me.  Also, who decides and how do they decide where to draw the sometimes murky line between "attack" and "defense"?
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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by Darth Dementor on Sun 14 Aug - 19:15

jakkusun wrote:And you know...some of Kylo's coolest powers actually involve stopping violence. He can freeze blaster bolts, freeze people, and knock them out with the force. I know it sounds silly, but I kinda think he would have great potential as a pacifist...one who could stop violence without resorting to violence himself. But I know a pacifist Kylo Ren sounds like a very ridiculous paradox or something. Lol
@jakkusun

I like the idea of Ben becoming a peaceful warrior at the sagas end.



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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by guardienne on Sun 14 Aug - 19:36

CienaRee wrote:

Great post! bom
Personally I'm a pacifist but unfortunately I realize that sometimes that might not work as much I and probably other people who're pacifists want to believe it can.
I think there isn't an easy or right answer to all of these questions it really depends on our beliefs and POV.I think that's one of the reasons why Kylo evokes so much discussion and controversy.(btw a while ago me and my mom had an interesting conversation about the Holocaust and how the Nazi were capable of causing so much pain and destruction.I was thinking whether some of the Nazi soldiers were bar I washed by Hitler to believe what they were doing was right [despite some of the astrcoties himan kind has caused I want to believe people aren't born evil,iI don't know may even it's the idealist in me{but my mom said that the war made pope act like animals which I found an interesting and probably true)
As for Rey I agree with you.I know some people hate the idea of Dark!Rey and while her going all evil in a very one dimensional way isn't the answer to make her character more complex I think not having her battle her own demons would be worse because it wouldn't let her grow and develop.She would be like Palpatien for example remaining the same though the entire trilogy with the only difference is that she's the heroine while Palpatine's the villain.I think an interesting moment for her in the movie is when she's ready to shoot a Stormtrooper without him even attacking her first yet when he does attack her and she shots him she hesitates for a bit as if she's surprised and/or horrified at what she's done then she continues shooting this time being visibly angry.I think it's a ice metaphors for people who think they won't feel anything but killing their faceless enemy yet when they do they're forever changed by the fact and for some that might lead to the, becoming the monster they're trying to destroy which is exactly what happened with Anakin in the movies.
@CienaRee

there was no brainwashing going on with the nazis. people participated in atrocities willingly. you could say that hitler capitalised on ever-present antisemitism. antisemitism is in itself a misnomer but what we understand by it today, that's been around pretty much forever.

you get some of it now with the vilifying of muslims. people being blamed as agroup is usually a sure bet for propaganda.

what you could say wrt the holocaust is that it was introduced gradually. these things usually are. if you spend enough demonising a group of people, it will be easier to see them as subhuman. and once they are subhuman, well, it doesn't matter how you treat them.

this is a simplified version of events, but the celebrating masses, the promises of reduced poverty (remember the nazis gained traction during and after the great depression), the blaming. it's exactly what is happening again now. i look on european governments with horror. i look on human rights violations done by western governments with horror. we've seemingy learned nothing at all.

@sacrebleu

I did finally read a book about American soldiers' real-life experience in a book called Black Hawk Down that gave me a much clearer understanding of how violence debases and corrupts. There is a quote from Plato at the start of the book, "Only the dead have seen an end to war."

is the black hawk down movie based on that? i can't even remember what war that was.

there is some good stuff out there on how corrupting killing is in itself. there is a war reporter on youtube, i'll dig out the video if you want, basically almost preaching about the corruption war brings even to correspondents. how addictive it is and how much a lot of people without a stable home life will just give in to it.

from what i've read, relationships are the most important, within the family, within the community. i think the problems wrt the abstraction of defending your country on foreign soil somewhere you have no idea about, is going to hit most european nations that have engaged in afghanistan and iraq for example. but again, what i'm learning on my literature travels is that we don't look after veterans enough. we don't provide space to process the trauma they have faced.

i would absolutely give quite a lot (perhaps not my right hand) for star wars to discuss this. i think especially the prequels in perhaps an overly clumsy fashion, really addressed the confusion that comes with loyalty to values. and the discrepancy between jedi philosophy and their actions. anakin knowing his mother was kept in slavery and yet he is taught about compassion? that's such a stark contrast and the films don't resolve that but instead the jedi get to rationalise their inhuman choices.

and preach about compassion.

i think the shift in the OT is then that the philosophy is necessarily stripped down. and i like it being reduced to its essence but also embodied by someone (luke) who seems to have some common sense. or who has been in healthy relationships.

i can't remember who brought up the sacrificial lamb (@darth rowan?) but you can't argue from a position of absolute vulnerability i think unless you can make that choice. i don't think you can claim that anakin was ever given that choice.

When you are passive and at peace, how do you summon the will to commit violence? How can you commit that violence in a state of passivity? How can you fight effectively that way in a life and death struggle?

i think lucas cleverly mixed a lot of philosophy for the jedi. none of it makes real sense. why do they do weapons training with small children? why do they have weapons if they are calm and at peace?

i think in one way the jedi have decided certain things about themselves and this is what their teaching is, dogma. we hold certain opinions about wha the dark side is, about how we can do our job (whatever that is in the first place), and who we are. these opinion do not change.

i haven't heard a good justification for war in a while actually. especially all the foreign territories that are being invaded and gifted with democracy.
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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by Sacrebleu on Sun 14 Aug - 20:02

@guardienne

Yes, the movie Black Hawk Down is based on the book about the Battle of Mogadishu, but the movie puts more emphasis on American heroism in the face of overwhelming odds.  The emphasis of the book is more on the absurdity and utter futility of putting soldiers in that situation, and how they coped.  It delves into how virtually impossible it is to "gift" democracy to anyone.  One day and one night, but a compelling picture of very young men being dropped into a meat grinder and how the citizens got caught in the crossfire.

If tranquility and passivity are the goals for the Jedi and they are "luminous beings, not this crude matter" who become one with the Force when they die, why carry a weapon at all?  Not like they're going to multitask with a lightsaber and use it to open bottles and file their nails.  If the Jedi are a "peace keeping" force who carry weapons, they are soldiers/warriors.  But "wars do not make one great" according to Yoda.

One of several problems I had with the prequels was the depiction of the Jedi, the Jedi training of children, the Jedi council, the "midichlorians" (ugh!).
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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by guardienne on Sun 14 Aug - 20:14

@sacrebleu was the problem with the manner of depiction or with the content?

i think lucas really deconstructed them in their prime and i was very... happy. i don't know if that has to do with my subversive nature in general Razz

i wouldn't necessarily use OT and PT yoda philosophy in the same way. i think there is a marked difference in yoda in both trilogies and it's for a reason. so, luminous beings are we, suddenly he puts emphasis on the spirit and this to my recollection is nowehre to be found in the PT, anyone saying anything like that.

the midichlorians i interpreted in the same vein, that it was an attempt to make force-sensitivity a scientific fact and so to make recruitment easier? it's been a while since i saw the phantom menace so i don't know whether that view can hold at all. i found that this was a way of portraying the jedi, not a way to say that this is how lucas sees the force. but like i said, i could be wrong.

i guess he needed a device to show how the jedi could be so sure anakin was the chosen one as well. so, maybe it was all lucas.

but to me it looked like the midichlorians mattered because, like in evidence-based medicine, a slight tangent here, the quantity of something mattered more than the quality. who cares just how force-sensitive someone is unless you need them to serve a particular purpose? unless they will become objects in your plan?

ETA: oh yes mogadischu. it sounds interesting. this is probably the time ton confess i still haven't read 'all quiet on the western front' by remarque yet. i think i would like it i just never ... read it. XD


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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by Sacrebleu on Sun 14 Aug - 20:24

guardienne wrote:@sacrebleu was the problem with the manner of depiction or with the content?

i think lucas really deconstructed them in their prime and i was very... happy. i don't know if that has to do with my subversive nature in general Razz

i wouldn't necessarily use OT and PT yoda philosophy in the same way. i think there is a marked difference in yoda in both trilogies and it's for a reason. so, luminous beings are we, suddenly he puts emphasis on the spirit and this to my recollection is nowehre to be found in the PT, anyone saying anything like that.

the midichlorians i interpreted in the same vein, that it was an attempt to make force-sensitivity a scientific fact and so to make recruitment easier? it's been a while since i saw the phantom menace so i don't know whether that view can hold at all. i found that this was a way of portraying the jedi, not a way to say that this is how lucas sees the force. but like i said, i could be wrong.

i guess he needed a device to show how the jedi could be so sure anakin was the chosen one as well. so, maybe it was all lucas.

but to me it looked like the midichlorians mattered because, like in evidence-based medicine, a slight tangent here, the quantity of something mattered more than the quality. who cares just how force-sensitive someone is unless you need them to serve a particular purpose? unless they will become objects in your plan?
@guardienne

Both manner of depiction and the content! Smile

In the OT Yoda says "luminous beings are we, not this crude matter" and in the PT when Anakin is having dreams of Padme's death Yoda counsels Anakin to not fear losing loved ones, to be happy they've joined the Force (I'm paraphrasing as I don't recall the exact dialogue) and to "mourn them not".  To me that's very similar.  Since dying is A-OK, indeed an apparently happy occasion!, why carry a weapon to defend oneself?

The midichlorians for me I guess is just a matter of (dis)taste.  I like to view the Force as mystical and somewhat elusive, difficult to seize upon or quantify, not something pinned down on a slide and viewed in the laboratory through a microscope. One reason I tend toward the Force bond theory between Kylo and Rey.  I don't really believe in Rey summoning up all those Force powers so easily and instantly.
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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by guardienne on Sun 14 Aug - 21:58

@sacrebleu well, if you familiarise yourself with bushido or the various other samurai codes on offer (bushido comes in many different translations), the enlightenment and meditation isn't mutually exclusive from warfare apparently, and having a master one gives one's life to. i think basically the whole philosophy is based on the giving up of the self to die for whatever your death will accomplish.

it's not unlike the jedi, i don't think.

Wikipedia on Hagakure wrote:Hagakure is sometimes said to assert that bushido is really the "Way of Dying" or living as though one was already dead, and that a samurai must be willing to die at any moment in order to be true to his lord. His saying "the way of the warrior is death" was a summation of the willingness to sacrifice that bushido codified

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushido

Wikipedia on Bushido wrote:The "way" itself originates from the samurai moral values, most commonly stressing some combination of frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and honor until death. Born from Neo-Confucianism during times of peace in Tokugawa Japan and following Confucian texts, Bushido was also influenced by Shinto and Zen Buddhism, allowing the violent existence of the samurai to be tempered by wisdom and serenity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagakure

i think these things are perfectly contradictory.

i prefer to think of the force as mysterious as well. what i mean is that the PT jedi don't. they want to make a clearcut case of whether a child can join the order and become a jedi and they found midichlorians. it's really demystifying the force and that's why it's grating but i really that at the pedestal that fans built for the jedi. it's their characterisation i believe.
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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by Sacrebleu on Tue 16 Aug - 13:43

[quote="guardienne"]@sacrebleu well, if you familiarise yourself with bushido or the various other samurai codes on offer (bushido comes in many different translations), the enlightenment and meditation isn't mutually exclusive from warfare apparently, and having a master one gives one's life to. i think basically the whole philosophy is based on the giving up of the self to die for whatever your death will accomplish.

it's not unlike the jedi, i don't think.

@guardienne

I can see that. I just wonder how when a Jedi is actually in the act of wielding his lightsaber how can he not tap into the dark side? That has always puzzled me. When Qui-Gon sort of meditated during a break in his duel with Darth Maul I couldn't tell if he was taking that opportunity to switch momentarily back to the light side, to regroup.

I definitely didn't care for the whole idea of children training with weapons. I just didn't like where Lucas decided to go with that. I would much prefer that to be decision made on the cusp between childhood and adulthood, as it was with Luke.
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Re: Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Post by guardienne on Tue 23 Aug - 12:15

The Life and Lonely Death of Noah Pierce

i'm reading jonathan shay on combat trauma and he's got so many interesting things to say. i hope i can share them with you soon.
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